Hidden Barriers to Happiness Blog
Have you always wondered about the invisible forces that affect your health, wealth and happiness?
As a neuroscientist, and then neuro and nutritional epidemiologist, I researched the underlying causes of mental and health problems. Now as a Holistic Healer for a Happy & Healthy Brain, I regularly make new discoveries while working with clients.
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What are you waiting for? Knowledge is power!
Many people I know, including myself, are struggling to grapple with the implications of this election. Not only has a racist xenophobe won the election, but Republicans will now have complete control over every branch of government. For those of us concerned about racial tolerance, the environment, and preserving the social programs we do have, there are no words to describe how worried we are. And for those of us concerned about climate change, there is a growing terror about the Republican’s denial that global warming is man made, and what they will do when they have all the power.
So how can we process the results of this election? How can get back to the things that are important to us? How can we make the best of this situation?
Thanks to the negativity surrounding this year’s elections, election stress disorder is said by the American Psychological Association to be affecting 52% of Americans.
This diagnosis was originally coined in developing countries with more instability, and in 2016 is becoming a major epidemic in America.
What are the symptoms of Election Stress Disorder?
More people are feeling anxious and stressed. We are more prone to rage in driving, at work, and in relationships. As we take sides, we grow more divided and are unwilling to listen to the views of others. We become more contemptuous and less respectful. The stress of this election is putting real strain on relationships, both in the home and beyond.
What are the factors that are contributing to this?
We have one of the most contentious elections between the 2 major party presidential candidates in the last 50 years or more. They are also the 2 most unpopular candidates in modern day history. Both are using fear of the other, as a driving force to vote for them. Neither of them are trustworthy, and both are being investigated by the FBI or in Federal Court for corrupt practices. Neither of them inspire us to be our best, and very few people believe that they represent the views of the 99%.
The stress of this election comes many factors: 1.) Many are voting out of fear of the other, and not for the change we want to see. 2.) Many of us are desperate for real change to help the 99%, and most of us don’t believe either candidate will make our lives better. 3.) There is tremendous fear of either a Trump or Clinton presidency and the ramifications of either taking office. 4.) The media excludes the voices of the 3rd party candidates, and perpetuates the idea that we only have 2 viable choices. 5.) The negativity and disparaging comments made by the campaigns and the media about others gives us subconscious permission to treat others similarly.
Our environment plays a very important role in how we treat each other. There are countries for example that are known to be more friendly than others, and much of it has to do with their media and how they treat each other. If we tolerate more rudeness, disrespect and put downs from our leaders and our media, we can expect to see that behavior grow. The people that are the most susceptible to these influences are people that have less control over their emotions. When the emotional circuits are triggered, the prefrontal cortex should kick in to help us to have control over our impulses. The prefrontal cortex however does not finish developing until about 25, and that can vary greatly, depending on your environment growing up, your mental health and your education. Because of the way the brain develops, and declines, children and the elderly are more susceptible to being emotionally triggered. Teachers are expressing a deep concern over the increase in bullying seen at schools, calling it “the Trump effect”. Stress also impacts our ability to use the prefrontal cortex, and thus our emotional inner child gets unleashed, and that can lead to more strife and tension in relationships.
Now that we know that the elections are stressing us out and negatively impacting our relationships, what should we do about it?
Do you worry too much?
One of big reasons why we worry so much is because we are trained for left brained verbal thinking. We are not trained to feel! In fact, we are often taught to “Just be cool”, thus encouraging us to deny our emotions. But these emotions don’t go away on their own. They get lodged in our tissues to reek havoc in our mental and physical health as we age.
Also if we couldn’t count on our parents while young, then we might have inadvertently been trained to worry. After all, we had lots of responsibilities. We needed to make sure everything was taken care of, and we had a roof over our heads. And because the world wasn’t safe, we felt like we had to worry, because who else would be responsible?
But the constant worry causes us an incredible amount of stress. Relaxation is difficult or near impossible. It is hard to enjoy life when are worrying all the time!
So how do we turn it off?
Have you ever wondered why we self-sabotage?
We often call it addictions. And yes, we develop addictions by repeating the same action over and over. But why?
Addictions, whether they are to food, alcohol or an obsessive-compulsive habit such as hand washing, are how we self-soothe to deal with our unpleasant, anxiety-prone reality.
I have a client who I’ve worked with to release a lot of self-sabotaging behaviors. She wasn’t exercising enough, drinking enough water, or eating well. We released the negative beliefs, emotions, addictive thought patterns and feelings of sabotage, and now she has developed healthy food, water and exercise habits.
But now that she is on a healthy streak, losing weight and looking great, she had a fear that she could self-sabotage again. So we asked her subconscious, “what triggers her to self-sabotage?” The answers were enlightening, and likely relevant to most or all of us!
Her subconscious revealed that she could be triggered to self-sabotage when:
Do you know people who are always getting in their own way?
People who take a step towards progress, and then seem to run away?
There are many people that regularly get in the way of their own healing, and there are a variety of reasons. It is not due to an inherent weakness, but subconscious barriers that occur as a result of their past. In my last article, I discussed the 1st subconscious block to healing. I’ve included 3 more in the following videos.
You’ll learn about subconscious barriers to healing that:
- are especially prevalent in women over 40, but are seen in many others as well.
- are common in people with a lot of education.
- are common in people who don’t tend to feel grounded or stable.
Please watch and share with your friends.
The first step towards progress is knowledge, and knowledge is power.
Have you been given a diagnosis that you haven’t been able to recover from?
Is this illness keeping you from having the life you want?
What is their key to success?
One thing that is absolutely required for healing (that most people who are sick do not have is):
I was taught early in life that hard work was the key to success. If we didn’t get a perfect report card, we were told that it was because we weren’t working hard enough. Because I had a learning disability and didn’t get the support I needed, I learned that I’d have to struggle to get what I wanted.
So that set me on the early course of constantly striving to be better, subconsciously hoping that I could some day gain the acceptance I so desperately craved.
While I now work hard for other reasons, I still find that the harder I push myself, the less tolerant I become when things don’t go my way.
So people who are ambitious and work hard, but are also to go with the flow really impress me. My friend Peter Feysa is a great example of this. We took a badly needed break and went hiking and swimming in the alpine lakes. Every time he set out to swim, my friend’s dog Irene felt the need to herd him in. He took it well, and even seemed to be enjoying it, even though she would circle him and get in the way. After several laps, I noticed he had scratches all over his back from Irene, but he never mentioned it until I brought it up. When I did, he shrugged them off! I know I wouldn’t have taken it that well!
So how do people like Peter balance the stress and still so gracefully handle all the bumps along the way?
Here are some mindset shifts that help such people go with the flow:
I’ve always been troubled by massive injustices inflicted upon fellow citizens. In my quest to determine how to prevent a future Holocaust for example, I needed to understand what caused it. One of the most important lessons I learned in my college course, “Introduction to Political Freedom”, is that the most horrific injustices of the world occur when we are not paying attention and when we disengage.
Thus, I’m a big believer that it is essential to stay informed and engaged in what is going on in the world, and to do what you can to make it a better place.
But as an empath, staying informed and keeping engaged can be emotionally taxing and overwhelming. Every day I wake up, thinking about the state of our country, and how we can have peace and justice in this world. And often this obsession with the direction of our country leaves me in despair about the future.
But I know that I’m not alone, so after doing some research on the internet, I found some great advice which I’ll share below.
For most of my life, I struggled with the being kind and generous. I had grown up in a household where it was a struggle to get my needs met. So my irrational subconscious believed in scarcity, and I felt like I was giving away more than I had to give.
When I realized this, I released my subconscious barriers to kindness and generosity, and found it a lot easier to give and to contribute without feeling depleted or resentful. Friendships became easier, and I felt better about myself!
In the US, we have super rich people that hoard cash at the expense of the poor. And on the other end of the spectrum, as I wrote about in my article, “The Dangers of Putting Yourself Last” , we have caregivers that spend so much effort giving, that they often neglect their own needs.
It turns out science confirms that there are multiple physical and mental health benefits to kindness and generosity, as long as you are not feeling overwhelmed by the experience!
Lets break them down:
I remember when I first saw that movie, “The Secret”. I was at a conference with scientists and thought leaders, and many people strongly urged me to watch it. But I remember, as I watched, my sense of unease began to grow and grow. I got so uncomfortable with it that I got nauseous, and kept wanting to walk out.
It reminded me too much of my early life experience with religion. Coming from a deeply religious family, I was told that if I just believed in Him, that God would provide. But that seemed way to simple to be true, and I got the impression that there was a lot of over-promising and under-delivering.
The Secret, like many religions, wreaked of the religious promise that if only you believed, you would be happy, or get what you wanted. Again it seemed way too simple and way too good to be true.
It is based on the notion of the Law of Attraction, and it’s the idea that you attract what you vibrate.
More and more people insisted I pay attention to the Law of Attraction, but I kept resisting it.
And then I met Peter, (more…)